Sassy Southern Cooking with a French Twist

French Stews

Exciting News and Wonderful Veal Stew for Warming Fall Nights

Hello again from my “old” post at hollyherrick.com. After a few months away at The Permanent Tourist Charleston, I’ve decided to return “home” and put a new polish on my old site.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be working on a cleaner, more visual look, more widgets to connect with bloglovin’ and other new places, adding cooking classes and recipe development pages, new recipes from my personal, unpublished recipe file, restaurant and Charleston cooking/food news, and of course, cookbook giveaways.

In fact, when we launch with the new live pages from the wonderful folks at Charleston Public Relations & Design in a few short weeks, I’ll be giving away a cookbook trifecta – three signed copies from The French Cook series including Sauces, Cream Puffs and Soups & Stews…nearly a $100 value just in time for the holidays. So, you’ll want to keep your eyes open for that and tell your friends about it, too. It’s easy to subscribe on the home page here if they want regular emails of new posts.

In the meantime, to follow is a fantastically fragrant and easy to prepare stew prepared with veal, apples and sage – the flavors of fall.  Snow is literally already on the way for some of this weekend. Time to pull out your favorite braising pot and get cooking. If you like, substitute veal for pork.

Daube de Veau et Pomme à l a Sauge

Veal , Apple , and Sage Stew

(Makes 6 servings)

From a culinary standpoint, the Normandy region of France is known for two things: apples from its myriad orchards (thus cider and Calvados, an apple brandy) and dairy (thus cream and cheese) from its celebrated cows. It is a large and exquisite region, decorated with a quilt of hedged emerald-green fields, usually damp from a recent rain, with cattle almost incessantly mooing at a low, pleasing hum. This stew combines the sweet tartness of fresh cider and Granny Smith apples with the milky mildness of veal. Sage provides an earthy counterpoint that is just right, especially when finished with a splash of cream. Because the cider is such a big part of the stew, fresh is what you need and the best you can find.

Veal and Apple stew

(Beautiful photo by Chia Chong with Libbie Summers)

Recipe:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 1⁄2 pounds veal shoulder cut into 2-inch cubes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 medium onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped

2 ribs celery, finely chopped

1 tablespoon dry rubbed or ground sage

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1⁄2 cups best-quality fresh apple cider

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into

1-inch cubes

1 1⁄2 cups beef or veal stock

1⁄3 cup whole cream or crème fraîche

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage, for garnish

Melt the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat in a 5 1⁄ 2-quart Dutch oven or similarly sized pot. Meanwhile, pat the veal dry and season generously on all sides with salt and pepper. When the oil is just sizzling, arrange about half the veal in a single layer in the bottom of the pan; do not overcrowd. Cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Turn and repeat on the second side.

Remove the meat from the pan and reserve nearby. Repeat with remaining veal.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the onion, garlic, celery, sage, and a light sprinkle of salt and pepper. Stir to coat and cook for 5 minutes, or until just starting to soften. Return the reserved veal and any juices to the pot. Sprinkle the flour over the meat and vegetables, stirring to coat, and cook for 1 minute. Deglaze by adding the cider, stirring up any brown bits on the bottom or side of the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat and allow the cider to cook off and reduce for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and establish a very gentle simmer. Add the apples and stock. Cook uncovered, continuing at a gentle simmer, until the veal is very tender, about 1 1⁄ 2 hours. Taste, and adjust seasoning as needed. (Note: You can stop here, allow to cool, and refrigerate overnight.) Add the cream or créme fraîche (no other substitutes here, or it will curdle) and fresh sage at the last minute. Heat through and serve. This is delicious over rice or broad noodles.

Bon appetit!

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Pot au Feu Weather

I spent most of last week channeling my inner Irish Catholic guilt. I confess that’s because while what seems like the rest of the country was commiserating over the “Polar Vortex,” I was (as my Iowa-born husband used to say) happier than a pig in mud.  Despite the unaturally brutal SC weather, my week was happily spent making one fabulous French stew after another. The kind of stews that take hours to reach perfection, very little effort to make and reward me, the dog, the cat and my neighbors with impossibly delicious feasts. The cold, somehow, made them taste even better. The recipe to follow is one of my favorites. Time to pull out the old Dutch oven (or substitute a sturdy stock pot) and get cooking. Spring, as hard as it may now seem to believe, is just around the corner.  Adapted from my next cook book, The French Cook: Soupes et Daubes (Gibbes Smith, late summer 2014 release).

Pot au Feu

(Makes 6 servings)

Special equipment: Dutch oven, China cap or colander

Pot au Feu (pronounced pot-oh-fuh)  is a centuries-old peasant dish that has worked its way into the hearts of the modern-day French. It’s one pot cooking at its finest and derives its name from the method of which it’s cooked, in a single pot. Similar to Boeuf a la mode in that it uses tough cuts (in this case a chuck roast), and is braised, it is different in a couple of ways. First, the beef is not browned and is simmered with beef marrow bones, in water as opposed to wine, which affords a silky, gelatinous texture to the jus. This jus is served over the sliced beef with a generous side of braised vegetables. A glorious Dijon mustard and horseradish cream as well as cornichons and bread are served alongside. Although it takes a long time (about 4 hours) to cook, this is a wonderfully simple and inexpensive dish to prepare.  Cloves and cinnamon give it a warm, almost medieval exoticism that makes the house smell like Christmas when it’s cooking.

Pot au Feu

Pot au Feu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

2 pounds chuck roast

2 large beef marrow bones (about 1 pound)

7 cups water

1 whole onion, peeled, pierced evenly with 5 whole cloves

1 celery stalk, trimmed, cleaned and cut into 3 or 4 coarse chunks

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

2 teaspoons salt

1 cinnamon stick

5 thyme sprigs tied into a bundle with kitchen string

For the vegetable garnish:

3 leeks, white and 1” of the pale green leaves only, halved vertically, thoroughly rinsed and tied firmly together with kitchen string

12 slender carrots, peeled, cleaned and tied firmly together with kitchen string

1 large turnip, peeled (cutting into the outer and inner skin, about 1/4-inch deep), halved, and cut into 16 large, equal-sized chunks (about 2” each)

1 – 2 cups water

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Mustard Horseradish Cream Sauce:

1/2 cup cold Heavy cream

1 heaping teaspoon prepared horseradish

1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a 5 1/2-quart Dutch oven, place the roast, marrow bones, water (adding more if needed to cover), clove onion, celery, bay leaves, peppercorns, salt, cinnamon stick,  and thyme bundle, beef down first. Bring up to a high simmer over high heat, reduce to medium low. The goal is a very low simmer – do not boil!  Cook, uncovered for two hours, skimming off rising foam and scum frequently along the way.

Remove the marrow bones and discard or save for your dog. Using a fork, remove the roast from the pan and reserve nearby. Strain the cooking liquid through a China cap or fine colander into a large bowl. Press down on the solids with a ladle to extract maximum flavor then discard the solids.

Return the roast to the original Dutch oven with the cooking liquids. Place the leek bundle, carrot bundle and turnips around the beef in the pan. Add more water to cover, about 1 to 2 cups. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Bring up to an aggressive simmer over medium high and reduce to medium low. Tuck the vegetables down around the beef. Simmer gently for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the vegetables are very tender.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium-sized, cold bowl. Whisk vigorously to combine and mount into a soft whipped “cream.” Taste and adjust seasoning. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To finish/serve the pot au feu, remove the beef from the pot. When cool enough to handle, arrange it in the middle of a large serving platter. Drain the vegetables from the pot and arrange artfully around the beef in their bundles (minus the string). Cover to keep warm. Meanwhile, reduce the cooking liquid down over high heat until there are just two cups left. Taste and adjust seasonings. Strain and drizzle about 1/2 cup over the meat and vegetables. Place the rest in a gravy boat or pitcher. Present with the jus and a bowl full of the mustard horseradish cream. If desired, scatter a dozen cornichon pickles around the platter.

Bon appetit. I promise you (remember, Catholic girls don’t lie) this is truly delicious. So delicious you can probably make whomever you prepare it for fall in love with one bite – it’s just that good.

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